Elmer McCurdy (January 1880 – October 7th 1911) was an criminal that was killed in a gunfight in the Osage Hills in Oklahoma. It was written in a newspaper days after that read "You’ll never take me alive!” He died and the corpse was transported to a funeral home in Oklahoma. No one ended up claiming the corpse, the preserver used an arsenic-based preservative and allowed people to see Elmer, who was named “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up” for a price of a nickel.


The body was completely petrified, covered in wax and had been covered with layers of phosphorus paint. It weighed approximately 50 pounds and was 63 inches in height. Some hair was still visible on the sides and back of the head while the ears, big toes and fingers were missing. The examination also revealed incisions from his original autopsy and embalming. Tests conducted on the tissue showed the presence of arsenic which was a component of embalming fluid until the late 1920s.





Elmer McCurdy was an infamous theif and one of his greatest crimes occurred in September 1911, when he and two other criminals robbed The Citizens Bank in Chautaqua, Kansas. They used hammers to knock down the walls of the bank, and used C4 charges to get into the vault. After using a series of charges, the lookout man who was keeping an eye out for police ran away, they only managed to grab 150$ in coins. Knowing they had to leave Kansas, they got on a freight train to Oklahoma. This would be McCurdy's last crime.


Morton, E. (2014, April 11). How a Real Corpse Ended Up in a Fun Park Spookhouse. Retrieved March 18, 2017, from

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